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"Are lesions and tumors the same?"

ZocdocAnswersAre lesions and tumors the same?


What is the difference between a lesion and a tumor? My doctor ran a scan on my lungs looking for tumors, and now he has started talking about lesions. This just seems like a scam to me. If he was scanning for tumors, why couldn't he look for lesions the FIRST time?


As physicians we sometimes do an inadequate job communicating our intensions and findings with our patients. Your question is another reminder that we still have a lot of work to do with our communications skills. In this case, the decision to get a scan of the chest is one in which both of you need to be on the same page as to the purpose and usefulness of the study. A lesion is a very general term meaning anything abnormal. A lesion can be used to describe a cut, an injury, an infected area, or a tumor. In radiology terms, your lung scan probably shows some areas which may not look normal, but without further diagnostic studies it cannot be determined if there is a tumor, an area of infection, old scar, an area of bleeding etc. In summary, all tumors can be classified as lesions, but not all lesions are necessarily tumors. I would schedule another appointment with you physician that is following the lesions in your lungs (if any). Communicate that you do not understand what he is looking for and what findings have been made. Forming a good therapeutic alliance with good communication is a critical step towards better health. Good luck.

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